Motivating Young Runners In the Family

My husband and I have enjoyed running over the years.  We’ve alternated in and out of interest, either he or I were into it while the other wasn’t.  We are now at a time in our lives we both enjoy this hobby.

As our boys are growing up, we are trying to feel out what activity they will enjoy.  They have done soccer and baseball primarily so far.  We are trying to evaluate other options as to give our kids an opportunity to feel out their talents.

Last year I volunteered at a Girls on the Run event locally and thought it was such a great event and a way for parents to bond with their kids.  However, I have no daughters.  And I am very uncoordinated when it comes to any other sport.

We initiated an interest to get the boys running this summer starting with the free July 4th 5k race that Montreat puts on annually.  This proved to be a large task as the boys finished at around the 1 hour mark.

So when our elementary school decided to start a brand new program, backed by the local running store in Black Mountain, we naturally encouraged our 4th grader to join the ‘Boys on the Run’ Running club that was started.

The boys met 2 days per week after school.  They ran some, they played some, and were encouraged by parent volunteers and the local running store owners.  Although Ian never made it sound as if he’d made headway with his running, he was able to compete in 2 races by the end of season.

Medals all around- bonus of running the strut this year


Towards the end of the season, as Conrad and I ran the Turkey Strut in Winston-Salem, we enrolled Ian into the 1mile fun run.
My plan was simple.  Go in with a plan.  I told Ian that he had to run the first 5 minutes straight before he could walk, then we would alternate 1 minute walk, 1 minute run till the end.  At 2.5 minutes he started to walk and I encouraged him on (i.e. reminded him he had to finish those 5 minutes), and it worked.  And at the end he did more than 1 minute of running, and picked up speed in the last .25 miles to end strong speeding through the finish line.  Final mile time was under 15minutes.

Finishing Strong at the Turkey Strut


The following weekend was the big Boys on the Run finish event.  Since its not an official event like Girls on the Run, we had to find our own event.  The club chose the Jingle Bell 5k in Asheville.  Since I motivated him in the fun run,  Conrad ran with him while I ran with a different group.  I reminded them of our plan from the week before and they attempted to restart at each mile marker.  Although they only did the 1st 5 minutes straight, the rest included at least 60% running, and they finished under 50 minutes, which was a 10 minute improvement from the summer race.


But what made me the happiest is that after each run, he said he had fun and enjoyed it!  The season for the running club is over, however perhaps we will be involved next year too…




  1. I have really enjoyed getting my girls to love running. They are now 14 and 13 and still looking for as many races to join as possible. Have fun spending time with and challenging your kids in whatever they become passionate about.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s